In the past few years, many people seem to have been capitalizing on the popularity of Sherlock Holmes. The detective tales of Holmes were originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, however, there are countless modern adaptations of these tales. Although Sherlock Holmes has been popularly recreated in a manner reasonably true to the original stories (take the films starring Robert Downey, Jr. for instance, which take place in late 19th century London), many recent adaptations have adjusted details of setting in efforts to modernize the stories; for example, the television series Elementary recounts the tales of Sherlock in modern day New York.
One of the best adaptations, however, is the BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The show centers around Sherlock and his faithful sidekick, Dr. Watson, as they go about 21st century London solving various crimes and mysteries. The series, itself, has an untraditional setup, with only three episodes per season (each spanning about an hour and a half). However, such a setup facilitates the storytelling; each episode is like a movie, mimicking the original short story format that Doyle utilized. There are story arcs that span across several episodes, of course, creating a rich narrative for the viewer. Additionally, Sherlock alludes to the original stories with small details to further enrich the stories; for example, in the original and the adaptation, Watson has done military service in Afghanistan.
Aside from the basics (e.g., characters, setting, general premise), however, the two interpretations are dramatically different, largely due to the drastic time difference. Present-day Sherlock is able to use modern-day technologies and conveniences to assist in his mystery solving, and Watson even maintains a popular blog. Furthermore, the visual representation of Sherlock (rather than literary representation) allows viewers to fully appreciate his eccentricities. In the television series, with the awkwardness of social interactions and lack of regard for others, Sherlock’s behavior often comes off as autistic, and writers have even incorporated this into the show, suggesting that he has Asperger’s in the dialogue.
Overall, Sherlock Holmes has been successfully recreated in several films and television series lately: talks of a third Sherlock Holmes film with Downey are in the works; Elementary had a successful first season and was renewed for a second; and Sherlock has been met with critical acclaim and a bordering on obsessive fandom. Unlike the mysteries that the detective solves, there appears to be no surprise here: the popularity of Sherlock is a sure thing.
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